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Anti-vaxxer teacher forcibly removed from kindergarten after refusing virus test

Educator barricades herself in a Haifa special education institution, after being asked not to show up without a negative COVID-19 test

View of a kindergarten ahead of the opening of the new year, in Katzrin, northern Israel, August 29, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
View of a kindergarten ahead of the opening of the new year, in Katzrin, northern Israel, August 29, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

An anti-vaccination assistant teacher at a Haifa kindergarten was forcibly removed from the educational institution’s premises on Thursday morning.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, the teacher was told not to come to the special education kindergarten, as she was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and had refused to be tested.

All teaching staff that are not vaccinated are required to be tested for the virus before showing up at educational institutions.

The teacher also refused to wear a face mask, which is also required, reports said.

When the head teacher arrived and asked her to leave, she refused, so the head teacher took the children outside, and the assistant teacher remained inside, the reports said.

Municipal workers eventually arrived and removed her from the kindergarten, and a complaint against her was filed at the police.

“The protocol clearly state that teaching staff or educators who are not vaccinated are required to perform a rapid antigen test. If they refuse to take a test, they are strictly forbidden from entering the educational institution,” the Education Ministry said in a statement.

“Following the incident, the ministry acted immediately to remove her [from the kindergarten], and at the same time involve all relevant law enforcement authorities,” it added.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton speaks at a press conference at the Education Ministry in Tel Aviv, in preparation for the opening of the school year nationwide, on August 31, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said Tuesday that some 18,000 teachers in the education system have not been vaccinated, along with another 18,000 teaching assistants and other educational staff, and urged them to do so.

Staff who are not vaccinated must be tested every few days or they will not be allowed to work.

Almost 2.5 million Israeli students from kindergarten to 12th grade started school Wednesday, despite record virus numbers and with officials acknowledging the return to classes could spark a further rise in infections. Some 210,000 students needed to study via Zoom, due to health restrictions, but the Education Ministry said over 90 percent of students showed up for school on the first day, far exceeding expectations.

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